January: As with every year, I started 2016 with a set of goals (some lofty [*cough* running once a week], some not so much). Did I make all these happen? Nope. Definitely fell off the running train once work travels picked up. Also did not finish fussing over my wardrobe, but more on that later.
February: What a fun month! Thanks to work, I had the opportunity to visit China for the first time ever. Made it to Beijing during the Chinese New Year festivities, which meant getting to walk the Great Wall without much traffic (both getting to the Wall or on the Wall itself)!
March: As part of the same trip in February, ventured over to Shanghai (so much delicious street food!) and eventually made my way over to Japan! With only a day of down time between meetings, I tried my best to visit all the touristy attractions. To this day, I still think about Japan a lot and hope to go back there soon!
April: Between work travels to visit new-to-me places in North America, and a quick weekend trip to Vancouver for fun, April was a quiet month. I focused a lot of my content with local Seattle Companies (Comeshopwithlove.com, Brooks Running, and Moorea Seal), and revisited partnerships with old favourites. In retrospect, I wish I had put aside more time to share non-partnered posts in April because looking back on this month makes me now feel like it was a rolling billboard month. Sorry friends!!
May: One of my favourite memories of 2016 happened in May: Oyster picking! Having never been to Hama Hama before, or really having a taste for oysters, this trip taught me a lot. It was such a fun way to spend a day with friends, away from social media, and surrounded by the beautiful sunny skies, oyster smells, and yummy food. On top of the oyster goodness, May was the month of celebrating Moorea Seal’s B&M store turning 2! My, how the time flies!
June: With Summer kicking off in June, it was time to start wedding season outfit planning. Aside from all the outfit planning, there were fun personal trips planned for lounging around at a lake house, and planning the biggest event of the year: a pop up restaurant! The pop-up isn’t something I blogged much about (mainly because it was a joint event between myself and another friend), but I can’t wait to share more about it in 2017 because it’s something that I hope we get to do regularly in the future!
July: July was another busy month for work travel (so fun, but also a little crazy!). There was literally one free weekend that I was home in Seattle, which is the weekend my friend Joe and I hosted a fun pop-up restaurant in the Cap Hill neighbourhood. For one night, we offered a 3-course set menu centered around traditionally smoked meats and traditional Asian cuisine. With both of us being the children of immigrant parents, now raised and influenced in modern Western societies, this felt like the most authentic pairing of foods and flavours that we both grew up loving. Can’t wait to share more about this in the new year!
August: What a month for 3-day trips! A friend found an amazing flight deal which landed us in Alaska for a weekend. Eating through the Anchorage Weekend Market and then taking an 8 hour long tour of Denali was such a treat. As someone who grew up in a city and didn’t have easy access to the mountains or other outdoor activities, it always surprises me how excited I get about being outside and enjoying nature as I grow older.
October: What is usually my favourite month of the year (mainly because of my favourite holiday, Halloween), October was bested by September. The biggest notable moment this month was being in Europe! Despite loving Halloween and being costume ready early (for once, hah!), I spent Halloween on the road with my coworkers in Germany. We spent almost 2 weeks on the road between Germany, Italy, and a few spots in between (Switzerland, Austria, etc). It was my first time to all of these countries and I loved every second of being on the road! This is the trip that taught me to be a hyper-efficient suitcase packer too.
November & December: I’m lumping the last two months of the year into the same bucket because of how quickly they both seemed to zoom by! December is the month of my favourite outfit of 2016, which I wore to Bri’s annual holiday party. December is also the month that I discovered the magic of outdoor skating trails. December is also the month where I traveled the most, ringing in 6 flights in the span of 3 weeks!
Phew. Looking back, 2016 was a crazy year! Being on the road so often taught me a lot about myself as a person. I truly believe 2016 is the year I finally and wholeheartedly learned to grow comfortable in my own skin.
From the blog front, I feel like 2016 was a learning experience. This was the first year I started to branch out in partnerships and collaborations across all the platforms (blog, Instagram, Twitter, FB, etc). Although there were a lot of pros for the new blogging opportunities, the biggest con – to me – is feeling like I’ve lost some of my personal voice. Writing this year end review surprised me a bit because of the sheer number of collaboration posts vs personal posts. In previous years, my blog has been weighted much more heavily on the personal side vs partnerships, but that isn’t the case this year. I feel my voice and personal opinion coming through Instagram a lot more frequently nowadays and wish I did a better job of mirroring that across all platforms. Of course, every blogger will have a different opinion on the topic of partnerships, but I’m looking forward to 2017 and better about speaking up and out beyond partnered content.
I learned a lot about myself as an individual this year, and that extends to who I am through the lens of this blog too. I can’t thank all of you for continuing to read, support, and encourage this creative outlet of mine. The blog has really helped me to grow as a person – and professionally – and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for us!